It’s likely that you’re familiar with some of the annual events which raise awareness for health conditions such as breast cancer, heart disease or diabetes. But how much do you know about the many great programs which recognize a variety of issues related to mental health each year?
The following list covers selected annual observances which strive to increase awareness, provide information and offer resources for various mental-health conditions. This list is by no means exhaustive and it mainly covers the US and a few international events. Click on the name of each event to access additional information.
This educational program from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) links teens to science based facts to “Shatter The Myths” about drugs. The week includes “National Drug and Alcohol Chat Day,” which features a live online chat between high school students and NIDA scientists to discuss facts about drug abuse and addiction and how to help friends or family who are in need.
The goal of this program from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need.
This campaign by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) serves to educate the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families, destigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.
This is a grassroots annual global awareness event/campaign observed on March 1, where some people choose to be more open about their own self-harm, and various organizations make special efforts to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury.
Observed on March 30 each year, the vision of World Bipolar Day is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma surrounding this condition.
Sponsored by the Autism Society, the event was established to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with autism is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) developed this observance to help reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism by encouraging communities to reach out with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery.
Established by Mental Health America in 1949, this event employs media, local awareness events and screenings to spread the word that mental health is something everyone should care about.
This observance, held the first Wednesday in May, promotes the message that “maternal mental health matters” and aims to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues so that more women will get support and treatment and fewer will suffer.
Held each year in early May, this event was developed by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.
Sponsored by the National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), this event, which also includes PTSD Awareness Day on June 27, was developed to encourage everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and effective treatments.
The Alzheimer’s Association sponsors this annual observance to spread awareness, raise money, and raise hope in the effort to end Alzheimer’s and other brain and memory disorders.
Established by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), this event’s goals are to improve access to mental health treatment and services and to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.
SAMHSA sponsors this annual observance to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. An extensive toolkit of educational materials and treatment resources are provided.
An initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), this day is observed on September 10 every year in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. The month of September is also recognized as Suicide Prevention Month by various organizations.
Established by the US Congress in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), this event occurs every year during the first full week of October. Programs are targeted to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses. This week also typically includes National Depression Screening Day.
This event, observed each year on October 10, was started by the World Federation for Mental Health for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, by bringing attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.
This annual event was developed to educate the public about ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) by disseminating reliable information based on the evidence of science and peer-reviewed research.
Developed by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), this event, held during the second week in October, raises awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders, with the goal of helping more people obtain timely access to appropriate and effective treatment.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP) promotes this observance on the Saturday before Thanksgiving (US), where people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope.
I’ve only scratched the surface with this list, but I hope it will give you a better sense of the wide range of excellent mental-health related awareness events going on throughout the year. Stick a copy of this list on your fridge for future reference. Then, take time to learn more and get involved to help promote these worthwhile programs.
Here’s a question: What other mental health awareness events do you know about? Please leave a comment. Also, please subscribe to my blog and feel free to follow me on Twitter, “like” my Facebook page, or connect on LinkedIn. Finally, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend. Thanks!